Feeding hedgehogs

Hedgehogs need our help and we should encourage them into our gardens and cherish them.  Lots of people are now starting to realise this and are beginning to feed hedgehogs in their gardens.  Hedgehogs particularly need food and water in the Autumn to build up their weight ready for hibernation and in the Spring when they come out of hibernation; but they also need it during hot, dry spells in the summer when their natural prey is in short supply.

The first and most important thing to mention is:

Never give them bread or milk.

But what do you feed hedgehogs?  Is special hedgehog food a marketing gimmick or does it provide a perfect supplement to their natural diet?

Hedgehogs will happily munch their way through a variety of garden pests such as; slugs, snails, centipedes, beetles and other little creatures.  The garden is a great place for them to find natural food and in turn they are helping gardeners manage the slimy slug population. (Watch Grumpy the hedgehog looking for bugs here)

We are lucky to have a quite a few hedgehogs living in the garden as there are lots of wild areas, log piles, compost heaps, and hedges. – The perfect hoggy habitat.

I normally see the hedgehogs about 3 times a night on my wildlife camera and I try to guess which ones they are by subtle distinguishing features but its not always that easy.  They are hungry little hoggies and they munch their way through quite a bit of bought food.

grumpy hedgehog june16

Dried hedgehog food is a firm favourite in the garden.  The large bag we have contains; Rice, Poultry Meal, Maize, Poultry Fat, Vitamins and Minerals.  Our hedgehogs are spoilt though as they also have a variety of other food on their plate each night too. They like sunflower hearts and mealworms, nibbled nuts (not whole nuts as they can get stuck in their teeth) and sometimes dried bananas.

I have had my camera pointing at the plates of food a number of times and have found that the dried food gets mainly eaten by the hedgehogs. (only the mealworms and sunflowers we mix in attract the occasional cute wood mouse)  To be honest, no other creatures get a look in as the hedgehogs find it so tasty and don’t like sharing.  I have noted that Foxes will have a nibble of food if some is spilt on the floor, but they don’t like eating off the plate, and cats don’t seem interested in the dried food which is good.  By the end of the night every bit has been eaten so there is never any waste.

hedgehog eating

(Check out my video here to see what happens when 2 hedgehogs find the food in a small mammal tunnel I had put in the garden)

I would definitely recommend getting a bag of dried hedgehog food as it’s an easy way to feed your hedgehogs and provide them with a nutritious well balanced meal.  I am sure the crunchy consistency means it helps keep their teeth in good condition too, and is a nice supplement to slimy slugs. (You can see how much Prickles the hedgehog is enjoying the food here)

So what are you waiting for – Make your garden hedgehog friendly, place a CD sized hole at the bottom of your fence and encourage these beautiful creatures to visit your garden.  In return for your kindness, they will help get rid of your garden pests.

Important Reminder:

Always leave a basin of water out with the food as all that chewing is thirsty work. (As you can see in my video here)

hedgehog drinking

 

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SPC Wildlife -Bird Feed Review

SPC Wildlife have a passion for wildlife and nature. They are based in Sussex and stock an excellent variety of wild bird seed and other wildlife products.  They also support a growing number of registered charities so that every time you shop with them, 5% of the value of your transaction can be donated to a charity.

A large number of birds visit our Cheshire garden which means an awful lot of bird food is eaten, so I was grateful to receive a selection of their wild bird seed mixes. I couldn’t wait to see what the birds thought about them.

SPC Wildlife provide their own recipe seed mixes in zip lock bags which are clearly and informatively labelled. As soon as I put my hand in the bag I noticed the clean and excellent quality seed straight away.

Now to see what the birds think of them. Though the birds love all the seed selections I have decided to review the birds 3 favourites.

In 1st place was:

Suet & Mealworm Mix

review grt tit guard
These high energy suet pellets are made from berries, mealworms and insects. They are soft so can be easily nibbled from a nut feeder and don’t produce mess so can also be used on a tray feeder or on the ground.

review greattit

Within minutes of putting them out, the robins, blue tits, great tits, crows and jays all came down to investigate and have a nibble.

review bluetit
The only problem is that the birds love it so much it doesn’t last long. Most of the birds were so quick at taking the pellets it was hard to get a photo.

review crow
I think you would go through lots if used on their own so I suggest mixing small amount of suet pellets with other things like peanuts etc.. so they are just a treat for the birds. That way the birds don’t get too spoilt.

(check out video footage of the blue tits eating the yummy suet pellet- https://youtu.be/9npPhVXOWuY )

2nd place goes to:

Ground Mix

review robin

This mix is packed with juicy sultanas, sunflower hearts and peanut granules and hardly creates any dust.

As soon as I turned my back, the first to hop along and investigate were the blackbird, which were quickly followed by many house sparrows, then dunnocks and robins. It was suddenly a feeding frenzy as the birds gobbled up what they could.
I don’t think they were sure about the sultanas at first, not really knowing what to do with them; but this could be because they are used to eating soft fresh fruit in the garden. By the end of the day however there was no waste and every bit had gone from the floor.

review blackbird sp

(check out the video footage of the blackbirds and sparrows gobbling up the ground mix- https://youtu.be/nrWvqCvK1po )

And finally 3rd place goes to:

Premium Mix

I was amazed at the quality, and variety of seed in this mix, and how clean it was. It contains black sunflower seed, wheat, cut maize, red dari, naked oats, white millet, canary seed, black rape seed, small striped sunflower seed and linseed.

review greef and sp

Within minutes of filling the feeder, it was alive with activity. Blue tit, sparrows and greenfinches were the first to sample the mix, but word must have got round quick as goldfinches flew into the garden shortly after to see what the fuss was about.

The birds are certainly enjoying their new menu and would definitely recommend the bird food mixes from SPC Wildlife.

As well as selling a variety of excellent bird food and other wildlife products; their website has wildlife facts and guests blogs packed with useful and interesting information.
Do take a look at their website https://www.spcwildlife.co.uk/

and remember to check out my nature blogs too here https://ljaynature.wordpress.com/